Datu Piang town under siege but military says situation under control

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 03 December) –  “Like Marawi.”

“Dulawan, Datu Piang is now like Marawi,” Agriculture Undersecretary Zamzamin Ampatuan posted on his Facebook page at 10:34 p.m., as the “ISIS-inspired Bangsamoro Freedom Fighters (BIFF) attacked the town center.”

Ampatuan said he was still confirming reports that the police station in the town plaza in Datu Piang, Maguindanao, had been overrun, that a police car was burned, that the Sta. Teresita Chruch was on fire,  and the municipal hall “under pressure manned by outnumbered defenders.”

Map of Datu Piang, Maguindanao. Courtesy of Google Maps

Fr. Eliseo Mercado, Jr., OMI, who spent several years in Datu Piang, posted at 10:58 p.m. that “Notre Dame of Dulawan is under attack and fighting is going on” as he asked for “prayers for the safety of civilians and school.”

The Notre Dame of Dulawan is run by the Oblates of  the Mary Immaculate.

Mercado said he was still trying to confirm reports that the church was burned as the reports from Datu Piang are conflicting. Some said the church was on fire, other said a police car in fornt of the church was burned.

Lt. Col. Anhouvic Atilano,  spokesperson of the 6th Infantry Division confirmed what he described as “harassment of BIFF in Poblacion Datu Piang.”

“At (the) moment, situation is under control by security forces,” he said at 11:40 p.m.

At 12:12 a.m. Friday, Atilano said reports that the church was burned or the school was attacked are not true.

Atilano confirmed a police car and a police outpost were burned 

Provincial Administrator Odjie Balayman told MindaNews there were no casualties.

(Ferdinandh B. Cabrera with reports from Froilan Gallardo and Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)